There are several manufacturers of credit card processing machines and, while they all perform the basic task of processing credit card transactions, there are some differences between them. A business owner should research the options available, as well as the cost, which can vary by several hundred US Dollars (USD). The type of business may also impact the style of credit card processing machine needed, and merchants should decide whether they want to be able to process more than just credit cards. Wireless credit card processing is another option that should be considered.
The ability to accept credit cards can be a boon to any business, and installing a credit card processing machine is an easy way to add this payment capability. These dedicated processing terminals can process various credit cards, and some types can also accept debit and gift cards. These units work in conjunction with merchant accounts, whereby funds are transferred to the business owner's bank soon after the transaction is complete. The credit card machine is often plugged into an electrical supply as well as a telephone line or the Internet, which works well if the unit will stay in one location.
A basic credit card processing machine has a magnetic strip reader and keypad/touch screen combination. An easy-to-use keypad is vital for companies that take many orders over the telephone. Some come with printers, and those that do not usually offer them at an added cost. Different models come with various amounts of memory and some offer options such as the ability to process refunds, accept tips and secure the terminal using password protection.
For businesses that are more mobile, wireless credit card processing is a must. This type of credit card processing machine is generally battery-powered and works by using a wireless Internet connection or cell phone network. These machines are more costly but also the most convenient way for merchants to process credit card transactions when they are on the road or collecting payment at a customer's residence. Merchants should consider both battery life and weight of the unit itself when looking to buy this type of credit card processing machine.
Once a merchant has identified the credit card processing machine options and style desired, cost becomes a consideration. Prices for credit card processing machines can vary by several hundred USD, and those with more options will naturally be pricier than more basic models. One way to reduce costs is to buy the machine outright rather than leasing. Processing fees are an unavoidable part of purchasing this type of processing equipment, so merchants should compare the cost of using their own merchant account provider and processing services offered through major credit card companies.